June is the new October.
Officially, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Hmm. Shouldn’t every month be Breast Cancer Awareness month?
Feel Your Boobies makes every month Breast Cancer Awareness month. As it should be.
Last night I went to a presentation at my church that was put on by the Canadian Cancer Society. This information session was to raise awareness of breast cancer and the importance of self-screening. Fortunately I’ve been doing this for years becuase breast cancer is a part of my family medical history.
My grandmother, now 91, is a double mastectomy breast cancer survivor.
The breast screening guidelines in Ontario state:
If you are 40 to 49:
Have a clinical breast examination by a trained healthcare professional at least every 2 years.
50 to 69:
Have a clinical breast examination by a trained healthcare professional at least every 2 years. Have a mammogram every 2 years.
70 or older:
Talk to your doctor about how often you should be tested for breast cancer.
But if there is a history, you can start getting mamograms at 40.
Getting checked by your doctor is great, getting a mamogram is important (when you’re old enough), but the #1 thing that you can do is
It’s pretty easy. Same time every month, feel your boobies. Look at your boobies. You need to know what’s normal for you. If something doesn’t feel right. If something doesn’t look right. Get it checked out by your doctor.
Here’s a pretty neat eye-opener.
Do you know what that is?? It’s a Thing-a-ma-boob. Yep, you read that right.
It’s hard to talk about this stuff. It’s a little bit too intense to casually fill silence while waiting in line for a movie. However, I now have a helpful gadget that breaks the ice.
“The Canadian Cancer Society Thingamaboob is a funky yet educational key chain that shows women how important screening is in the early detection of breast cancer.”
It is the ultimate conversation starter, and definitely a little weird. Each of the beads represents the size of the tumour detectable through various screening methods. Essentially, it is an argument for mammograms, since they can catch the early, tiny lumps.
When I leave it on my desk or carry it out in public, people start to talk. My sister and I talked about how creepy it is to carry around these little glitzy representations of tumors. My mom and I talked about the politics of mammograms, and friends pointed out the confusion of self-exams. A co-worker and I swapped stories of our grandmothers, and if I’m feeling in the mood, I risk over-sharing and delve into my treasure trove of ovary stories.
A good friend actually confessed that she had recently found a lump, which – thank goodness – turned out to be benign. She had been too terrified to mention anything at the time. I was shocked to think I could be so oblivious as she was going through so much.
I guess many of us default into secrecy unless we’re invited (or inspired) to do otherwise.
The big bead (on the left) is the size of a lump that you would find doing a self exam. The next two are the size your doctor would find. The teeny tiny ones are the size that are found by a mamogram.
Prevention is key. And you have to take care of yourself. So Feel Your Boobies.